The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry

Overview

This groundbreaking volume may well be the poetry anthology for the global village. As selected by J.D. McClatchy, this collection includes masterpieces from four continents and more than two dozen languages in translations by such ...

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Overview

This groundbreaking volume may well be the poetry anthology for the global village. As selected by J.D. McClatchy, this collection includes masterpieces from four continents and more than two dozen languages in translations by such distinguished poets as Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, Ted Hughes, and Seamus Heaney. Among the countries and writers represented are:

Bangladesh—Taslima Nasrin
Chile—Pablo Neruda
China—Bei Dao, Shu Ting
El Salvador—Claribel Alegria
France—Yves Bonnefoy
Greece—Odysseus Elytis, Yannis Ritsos
India—A.K. Ramanujan
Israel—Yehuda Amichai
Japan—Shuntaro Tanikawa
Mexico—Octavio Paz
Nicaragua—Ernesto Cardenal
Nigeria—Wole Soyinka
Norway—Tomas Transtromer
Palestine—Mahmoud Darwish
Poland—Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz
Russia—Joseph Brodsky, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Senegal—Leopold Sedar Senghor
South Africa—Breyten Breytenbach
St. Lucia, West Indies—Derek Walcott

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A number of editorial decisions prevent this collection from living up to its name. McClatchy, editor of The Yale Review, has decided to exclude "the extraordinary body of contemporary poetry in English," i.e., the work of poets from Britain, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealandon the grounds that this work is "more readily available." The collection does embrace, however, poems written in English by such poets as Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka, for whom the language is, as McClatchy notes, a "colonial bequest." While this decision may make sense for the U.K. and the U.S., it's hard to think of a New Zealand poet whose work is as readily available as, say, Pablo Neruda's, whose work is admitted. But whatever the book may lack in editorial vision, it does provide a respectable sampling of some of the best-known poets of our day, e.g., Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert, as well as a large number of poets whose work is less familiar, from Denmark's Henrik Nordbrandt to Japan's Ryuichi Tamura. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the collection is the number of poets here whose dissident beliefs and writings have led to imprisonment or exile. Among them are Dennis Brutus in South Africa and Nguyen Chi Thien in Vietnam. They serve as a potent reminder that in some parts of the world poetry and principle remain matters of life and death. (July)
Library Journal
If it is true, as Robert Frost said, that poetry is what is lost in translation, then it is an act of considerable courage to assemble a whole anthology of translated poems. Inevitably, some readers will be surprised and disappointed by some of the editor's choices (no Julia de Burgos? none of Jorge Luis Borges's verse? why so little Milosz?), but the volume is still a broad and generous digest of recent poetry, good and even great. Some of the poets represented will be familiar; others are still too little known here and should be welcome discoveries to many readersRutger Kopland of the Netherlands, Germany's Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Israel's Dan Pagis, Argentina's Roberto Juarroz. Many of the translators are themselves poets (Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, and Seamus Heaney among them), and they do much to alleviate the frustrations of translation. Highly recommended.Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679741152
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Pages: 654
  • Sales rank: 674,675
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.38 (d)

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